Four million people designated to drive on New Year’s Eve have drunk too much to be able to drive.

As we head towards New Year’s Eve, the latest survey results reveal a worrying picture that could cause a lot more damage than a hangover on the morning after.

 Behind the wheel

Partygoers across the country getting ready to celebrate New Year’s Eve will be trying to persuade a friend or partner to do the driving.

The research, carried out for Kwik Fit, found that one in six people have found themselves in a compromising position.  It’s New Year’s Eve, and their nominated driver has had too much to drink and been unable to drive.

​Almost half of these people, equivalent to some 3.8 million drivers, admitted they were supposed to be driving.

Although a similar proportion of men and women have been let down by others, men are almost twice as likely as women to have been the unreliable designated driver themselves.

​Stubborn choice

Some 60% of drivers say that if they want to have a drink on New Year’s Eve, nothing would persuade them to drive instead.  So what would make a person offer to be the designated driver?

​The most popular incentive is to have all their food and drink to be paid for by others in their group (29%). This is followed by all the passengers chipping in for petrol money (25%).

Trading driving on NYE for being driven on other big nights out over the festive period would persuade almost a quarter (24%). One in five (19%) would be prepared to drive on the single night of NYE in exchange for not having to drive on multiple occasions throughout the year.  Almost as many (18%) could be persuaded to drive if they were bought a gift.

​One potato, two potato…

How do those going out decide who drives? The most common deciding factors are the easiest ones. Having someone in the group who doesn’t drink alcohol and therefore always does the driving (32%). Only having one person in the group with a driving licence (14%) also simplifies the the request.

Meanwhile, 12% say that they alternate from one year to the next, while 9% say the New Year’s Eve driver doesn’t drive on another ‘big night out’.

Furthermore, 6% say they play a game to decide driving duties, with the loser having to get behind the wheel, while one in 20 settle it with a simple coin toss.

​Lethal mix

“Drinking and driving should never mix,” says Roger Griggs, communications director at Kwik Fit. “It’s vital people can rely on their designated driver to get them home safely, especially if public transport is limited and taxis are in huge demand. However a designated New Year’s Eve driver is chosen, there’s no excuse for them to let their group down by then drinking and not being able to drive.  We urge all those who are going out this New Year to decide who is driving well before the night, agree on what, if anything, the driver should get in return, and then stick to it. But whatever the agreement, no one should getting behind the wheel after drinking.”